The end of summer and the beginning of a new school year reminds me to refresh my ideas on budgeting both my time and money. Since my allergies, my food bills have increased greatly. I am eating healthy options all the time, but that comes with a price tag. Since I have finally figured out how to eat well, now I am going to focus on how to save some money in the process.
Here are my Seven Secret ideas on how to eat on a budget:
1. Coupons. I was never a big coupon clipper, but there are so many coupons online now. Check your grocery store’s website for coupons, or use a mobile phone app. Coupons.com has an app that brings the coupon right to your phone… no more clipping! Those $.50 coupons can really add up and save money in the long run.
2. Often times, coupons print out with your grocery receipt. But I have noticed that these coupons are often of the “buy 2 and save” variety. So, buy two and check expiration dates. You can buy coffee creamer with a close expiration date, but also look in the back of the shelf for products that have expiration dates a while from now (that is where they are hiding!).
3. Check out the Dollar Store and Target. Soap is soap. And often times the soap you buy at the grocery store is the same soap in the dollar store for less. Same goes for ziploc baggies and other paper goods. Target is great for packaged items like juice or frozen veggies. I just bought frozen veggies at Target for a $1 a bag!
4. Look online at your grocery store’s website and see the weekly specials. Then plan your meals around the specials. This also lets you get a little creative by challenging yourself to combine different special ingredients! Furthermore, when you see a product like chicken on special, buy a couple of packages and freeze.
5. Sign up to receive online newsletters from your grocery store. Not only do they tell you weekly specials, but they send you secret deals as well. Recently, my mom got a whole package of hamburger meat for free because she got the secret email!
6. Utilize farmer’s markets and grow your own herbs. Farmer’s market fruits and veggies can often be cheaper because they don’t need to involve the middle man, the grocery store, to sell. Growing your own herbs also saves money… those small packages of herbs are expensive! Might as well use your own dirt.
7. Preserve your veggies with those cute plastic containers that look like the veggies you store in them. I use them and swear that they work. They really do keep veggies fresh for a long period of time so you aren’t wasting money by throwing out sad looking veggies.